Housing problems- advice column
“I have a problem with rising damp in my flat, but I’m worried that if I complain my landlord will evict me. What should I do?”
Until recently, landlords could evict tenants without a reason. However, a new law passed last year means it’s now illegal to evict tenants for reporting a problem with the property. Start by checking your contract for when your tenancy began. If it was on or after 1 October 2015, you are protected from eviction provided you report the problem using the right procedure.
First, write your landlord an email or letter explaining the problem. If they don’t respond within 14 days or respond with an eviction notice, contact the council who will inspect the property.
If the Council confirms with the landlord that there is a health and safety problem, any ‘no fault’ eviction notice is invalid and you won’t need to leave the property. The council will also advise the landlord on next steps, which could include being legally required to fix the problem.
If your tenancy began before October 2015 it’s not illegal for your landlord to evict you but it’s still unusual to do so. Again, you should start by raising the problem in writing. If your landlord doesn’t offer to repair the damp, or serves you with an eviction notice, contact your local Citizens Advice straight away who will advise you on your next step.
Copyright Citizens Advice. For the most up-to-date advice, please visit our Citizens Advice public site, pop into our South Molton Office in the Amory Centre; open Thursdays 10-2pm or call our Adviceline on 03444 111 444 (Barnstaple office open Mon, Tues, Thurs 10-3pm and Fri 10-2pm)